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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 12: Beware of Marshawn Lynch

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Last year, I wrote a rotoViz article on why drafting Marshawn Lynch was a horrible idea in 2013. I actually wrote that for this year and hit “publish” 12 months too early.

Seriously though, I think I still made a good decision not to draft Lynch, despite the fact that he finished fourth in standard scoring leagues. The question that we should be asking ourselves isn’t “Was it smart to draft Lynch at his 2013 ADP?” but rather “Was it smart to draft a running back who was (and still is) slightly situation-dependent, wasn’t projected to be a PPR terror, and was reaching an age when few running backs continue to produce?”

From last year’s article:

And then there’s Lynch’s age. He came into the league at a young age, so Lynch is “only” 27, but that’s still pretty over-the-hill for a running back. In my book Fantasy Football for Smart People: What the Experts Don’t Want You to Know, I researched historic running back production by age. Below, I charted the results by fantasy points per touch.

RB Percentage of Peak Production

You can see that running backs are basically as efficient as they’ll be from the moment they step on the field, and it’s a slow decline from there. Total production peaks in the mid-20s (because backs typically see heavier workloads), but again, Lynch’s workload is priced into his ADP.

Lynch is a year older, still has an inflated ADP, and is far less likely to be Seattle’s workhorse this year. We always need to reassess our decision-making process with new information, but Lynch’s 2013 season isn’t close to enough information to suggest that we should begin drafting backs who match his profile when the cost is high.

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